24 – By Cameron Heffernan

Cameron, hoop lover extraordinaire, and editor of this fine website, decided enough was enough. There’s no way you can run a sports and entertainment site and not talk about the greatest sports accomplishment we’ve seen at the professional level since 18-1.

Getty Images

Getty Images

 

The number 24 is mostly associated with Kobe Bryant; it’s something that is associated with greatness because of this. It is also associated with beep…beep…beep…and a ticking clock on a semi-entertaining T.V. show. Why make that terrible comparison though.

Kobe Bryant is one of – and could work his way too being – the greatest basketball player of all-time. Jordan being the obvious No. 1, with Russel, Jabbar, Magic, and Bird in some order following behind him, it’s quite easy to associate Kobe with those great players. He has the accolades: five-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP and 10-time All-NBA 1st team. He has the respect of veterans, with Association legends like Bird and Jordan saying they’d prefer to team with him over someone like LeBron James.

Speaking of LeBron James, in case you weren’t aware, the man that people like Bird and Jordan said they’d rather not  team with is doing something that neither of them accomplished, hell even Kobe hasn’t achieved something like this. Winning 24 games in a row behind a miraculous 27-point comeback against the lowly Cavaliers, Wednesday night in Cleveland.

Kobe and the ’00 Lakers won 19, the ’96 Bulls had 18. That was it though. Jordan’s Bulls went on to go 72-10 (An NBA record, Which the Heat could match next year, not this year though, they have 14 losses) and win the NBA championship, this Bulls’ team could be the greatest team ever. Kobe’s Shaq’s Lakers went on to go 67-15 (something the Heat can do) and win the NBA Title also (again, the Heat can, probably will, do this too).

The Association is experiencing a changing of the guard right now. Kevin Durant is just beginning to blossom, LeBron has reached otherworldly heights in his game we all were expecting. Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and so on and so forth are taking over the league.

The Lakers, Celtics, Mavericks, and though they’re resilient during the regular season, Spurs, are all becoming an ancient form of basketball; not so much in the way they play (well maybe not the Spurs; fundamentals all day baby! That’s the way it goes), but more in the rosters they employ.

 

LeBron James and the Miami Heat aren’t apart of the young revolution per say. They are however the best team in the NBA, hands down. They may be on their way to a second NBA Title and one of the most dominating season in NBA history; not seen since what is one of the greatest teams in NBA history, the ones’ who own the 33-game winning streak the Heat are chasing now, the ’72 Los Angles Lakers. Stacked with the likes of Wilt Chamberlin, Jerry West, nine games of Elgin Baylor and Gail Goodrich. The Heat are chasing giants.

Only, when you look at this Heat team and try to apply a historical sense to it, that’s when things become terrifying. The slow realization that what you’re watching is an unstoppable train of greatness and winning.

LeBron James: Literally a combo of Irving ‘Magic’ Johnson, Michael Jordan and since the introduction of a more improved post game, Hakeem Olajuwon. James is putting up 26.6/7.3/8.2 with a 30.9 PER (Player Efficiency Rating, created by John Hollinger, formally of ESPN, to measure, obviously, player efficiency), a whole .1 above his almost record breaking (Wilt at 31.8) 30.8 PER of last year. He played all 24 minutes of the second half of the Heat’s 27-point comeback to reach 24 games.

Dwayne Wade: Kobe Bryant/Michael Jordan. It’s pretty obvious what Wade brings to the table at this point. He once “willed” his team to an NBA Title behind anywhere – and I’m ballparking here – from 1000 to 1500 free throws in four straight games.

Chris Bosh: He’s literally a Dinosaur. I mean, you can make comparisons to guys like Toni Kukoc and his wacky European inside/outside talents. You can compare him to a skinnier Barkley – yes I believe Bosh is that talented.

But, in all seriousness, when you see things like this:

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YOU JUST CAN’T UNSEE IT!

Getting back to more serious matters. They also employ the talents of the greatest all-time three-point shooter ever in Ray Allen, a defensive stop gap in Shane Battier, an amazing role-player in Mario-Norris Chalmers-Cole. They can’t rebound well, but they make up for that by taking some quarters off then coming back and stomping. The Heat have looked down and out in their past two games during this amazing streak. Down by 13 to Boston, in Boston? they came back and won. Down by 27 to Cleveland, in Cleveland? Win again.

This team is on a historical run. Historical doesn’t even describe what they are doing. They’ve played 24 games in 47 days and they’ve won them all and that’s at a clip of one game every 1.9 days. They haven’t lost since February 3rd and they’ve played some of the best teams in the NBA including, the Lakers (36-33), Clippers (47-22), Rockets (37-31), Thunder (50-19), Grizzles (46-21), Pacers (42-26), Celtics (36-31), and Knicks (40-26). One team has done this and it was at a different time in the annals of the NBA. The game is faster now, the players are stronger and the Heat are treating every team in the NBA like they’re lesser beings. As stated previously; they take quarters off an look disinterested. But come time to shut it down and crush the spirits of the opposing team they turn into a whirling dervish of basketball perfection.

We were told we would be witness. We waited eight years to see this. Last year we got a peak at what was in store. Now, it appears that we can all confirm.

witnessIf only the fine folks of Cleveland were the ones witnessing it, and not just another number.

Cameron Heffernan is the co-creator of HefferBrew and at one point felt LeBron was the scourge of the NBA and that his “Decision” was one of the worst things to happen to the Association. It’s impossible though to ignore what we’re watching. Follow him on Twitter at @karateparty1 or @HefferBrew.

 

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